Andrew shuts the door behind him and tells himself that he isn’t going out of his way to be quiet so he won’t wake up Neil. He’s starting to believe Neil’s onto something when he calls Andrew a terrible liar, but he’d never admit that to his face.
Out of spite and anger at that realization, Andrew lets his keys clatter on the table as he sets them down, along with his bags from where he was travelling with his team. He only succeeds in rousing the cats; Neil sleeps like the fucking dead.
King meows noisily at Andrew’s feet while Sir makes himself at home on the kitchen table. Andrew says “no” a few times, but the dumb things keep looking at him, so he scratches behind their ears until they sniff and go away. They got the cats because Neil didn’t like being alone when Andrew was at games and cats could more or less take care of themselves if they were gone for a day. If their schedules both meant they were gone for a few days, one of the Foxes would catsit, usually Matt or Renee. They joked that they were the godparents, much to Andrew’s chagrin.
He wondered at how domestic he’d become and the clench in his gut at the thought is still there, though it lessened a bit every day. He still woke up most days waiting for the other shoe to drop and the cats moving in the middle of the night still startled him, but he feels…settled. And that scares him more than anything else.
He walks into the bedroom and it isn’t until he’s down to his tank top and boxers and is crawling into bed that Neil finally stirs with a groan. When he sees Andrew, his face breaks into a sleepy smile and he says, groggily, “You’re home.”
His Neil isn’t usually like this. Neil’s not soft, or nice, even after all these years. His Neil screams at matches on TV and tells off reporters who dare to bring up his past in interviews. His Neil pisses Andrew off to no end by stealing the covers and letting the cats on the bed and asking Andrew to go to Aaron’s wedding when Andrew wants to throw the invitation away.
They’re not soft people; they love with all they have and fight with it too. But there are moments like this, when Andrew’s tired and something in him slips and cracks, where he lays down next to Neil and brushes his fingers over the scars on Neil’s face, the most beautiful part of him, and whispers, “Yeah. I’m home.”
her gaze settled on neil and she studied him a moment, expression calculating.
“i’m going to sit with you,” she said. she crossed the room to perch on the arm of his chair. there wasn’t really room for her there; she had to lean against him to keep her balance. she wound an arm around his shoulders to keep from sliding off and crossed her legs at the knee.
“i can move if you want to sit here,” neil said.
“no, this is fine.” she smiled, and it had a smug edge to it.
do u ever just remember that one time nicky asked neil what had him in such a good mood and neil responds by turning to just straight up gaze at andrew for a good fifteen minutes until nicky’s like “dude stop ignoring me i asked u a question”
Nicky was exasperated. It was obvious by the way he looked out of breath even though he was just standing there being rather noisey.
Neil scrunched up his nose. As much as he loved Nicky, he wouldn’t mind hearing him less right now.
“What’s your point, Nicky?”
The thing with Nicky, however, was that when you requested a straight answer, you instead got a show.
Act one of this show was apparently looking around at the rest of the foxes and proclaiming, “Can you believe this kid?!”
Andrew was coming from his appointment with Bee so wasn’t at the locker rooms yet for practice. Neil found himself silently hoping he would get there faster to shut Nicky up.
Usually everybody would just let Nicky go on his rant, half ignoring him and half egging him on. But when Neil looked past him, he realized that all the Foxes were actually paying attention. Their eyes were focused on Neil with a combination of pity, confusion, and general annoyance.
Nicky was making a huge fuss now, not actually getting to the point but rather going around it. “Of all the days to not know-”
But Matt cut him off. Which was odd, because Matt usually didn’t cut Nicky off.
+ like loathes them
+ specifically centipedes and spiders because “nothing should have that many legs”
+ every time he sees a bug in his home he flinches, backs away, and tells it to fuck off for good measure
+ and then continues to COMPLETELY ignore the spot of the house it’s in until he’s sure it’s bound to be gone
+ once he didn’t go near the toaster in the corner of the kitchen for eight straight days because there was a spider living there and he refused to ask neil to kill it
+ the only reason he ended up going back is because neil finally decided to check out what was wrong
+ found the spider and smashed it with a shoe
+ which he had to physically show to andrew
+ who kept insisting the spider had nothing to do with it
+ neil knows better than to ask about it
+ the same cannot be said for nicky, defender of all bugs who also squeals every time he sees them
+ one day he asks andrew about the thing with the bugs even though kevin and neil both shot him looks that clearly said “don’t ask”
+ of course nicky asks
+ andrew just ignores him at first and pointedly directs his attention to kevin to call him stupid for something
+ and nicky’s like, “they’re not doing anything wrong andrew they’re just bugs”
+ “first of all, they are unwelcome guests in my home, just like yourself”
+ “second, legs.”
+ nicky and kevin leave not too long after because now andrew is in an even more sour mood and neil isn’t even /trying/ to help
+ later neil asks andrew about it
+ because he’s curious and also he finds it kind of endearing
+ (because scary andrew is afraid of BUGS and that boy is nothing if not a collection of endless surprises neil aches to understand)
+ he expects andrew to brush off the topic or ignore him
+ he doesn’t
+ instead andrew has this expression that can be explained as nothing other than “disgruntled”
+ “the legs”
+ hes practically grinding his teeth when he says it, like it’s something personally offensive
+ “nothing can get away with having that many legs /and/ breaking and entering.”
+ “one is a personal attack on me and my person and my home. the other is a felony”
+ neil CANNOT stop smiling
+ he kills every bug in the house without question after that